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Boss denies sex assaults on women

By Patrick O'Sullivan

A Napier business man is on trial for six charges of indecent assault.
A Napier business man is on trial for six charges of indecent assault.

A prominent Napier businessman is on trial for six charges of indecent assault.

In his opening in the Napier District Court yesterday, Crown prosecutor Clayton Walker told the jury they would hear testimony from two female employees of the man, who both allege they were indecently assaulted while driving to a charity event in January 2012.

The businessman has interim name suppression.

It's alleged the employer, already under the influence of alcohol, jumped across a passenger and ended up with his face in one woman's lap for 15-20 seconds.

Defence lawyer Paul Mabey, QC, said his client admitted to the incident and it was up to the jury to decide if it was indecent assault "or just an act of stupidity".

On the other five charges his client denied the incidents took place.

Mr Walker said the five charges involved another woman, the principal witness in the case, who transported the men from the event to her employer's residence.

She would testify that he had grabbed her backside and "indecently assaulted her progressively in terms of seriousness" while she drove, after opting to sit in the front seat of the vehicle with her.

The Crown says while she was driving he touched her left breast hard, leaving bruising, put his hand on her legs, tried to kiss her using his tongue and performed an indecent act on himself while pulling her hand to him.

While the assault escalated he gave a commentary on what he wanted her to do to him.

She asked a passenger to ask her employer to sit in the back of the vehicle, but her employer ignored the request.

The court heard she filed an employment grievance, before reluctantly complaining to police several months later.

When questioned by police her employer declined to make a statement and was charged.

Witnesses to be called included passengers and employees.

The trial is expected to conclude tomorrow.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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